Is it safe to follow your gambling heart in light of the World Cup draw?

In the wake of the 2006 World Cup Draw, and given the nation’s penchant for the bookies, it seems appropriate to take a look at what Friday’s draw results might mean for prospective World Cup gamblers. This column will not concern itself with blindly tipping favourites and then declaring that ‘we are sticking our neck out’ like so many others. We are looking for value bets. They won’t always win but in the long run we will be ahead. This hopefully will be a betting article with a bit of nouse.

With the World Cup only six months away, we thought it would be a good idea to explore the ante-post markets to see what value (if any) is available for the savvy punter. There seems to be little point in lumping on any of the market leaders at this stage, unless you have a really strong opinion or bottomless funds. Post the World Cup draw, What is the point of tying up your money on the favourites when it’s likely that they will still be available at roughly the same prices later on.

England is a unique case however. As a nation we gamble millions on sports involving the national side. The amount of patriotic money forces the price down as bookies lay off some of their liabilities. This destroys any notion of value. At the moment England are second favourites at 7-1. Do they really have a 12.5% of winning the World Cup? The price will struggle to get into double figures now as the 7-1 will collapse as momentum gathers. This does make it a fantastic back and lay bet. Other sides that look good value include Ukraine at 80-1 and Ghana at 250-1 (both Betfair). I would argue however that patriotic betting next year may also be safe betting!

World Cup Betting Odds

Brazil…………………100-30 (Lad.)

Argentina……………7-1 (Lad.)

England………………7-1 (Hills)

Germany…………….7-1 (Betfair)

Holland………………10-1 (Lad.)

Italy……………………10-1 (Hills)

Spain………………….12-1 (Lad.)

France………………..14-1 (Lad.)

Czech………………….25-1 (Hills)

By Chris Donaldson

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